On the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Trump Administration reversed the protections provided for trans folks in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. As a result, insurance companies and health care facilities can turn down transgender patients due to their gender identity. This has hit the trans community hard, especially during a world-wide pandemic. The news caused an uproar from organizations like the Human Rights Campaign to begin to take action.
Where did the separation of church and state go?
However, in a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has ruled two cases in favor of LGBTQ work discrimination rights. Now, an employer can’t discriminate against a person in the workplace due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a groundbreaking victory for the LGBTQ community since the majority of American adults work. In fact, it’s probably the biggest win since the legalization of gay marriage in 2015.
I personally love the responses I’ve been seeing on Twitter already. I’m with George Takei, O happy day! This is a great freaking day for human rights.
I know I stand proudly with this ruling. When I worked in a conservative tourist location, I couldn’t show any piercings or tattoos, and my employer required natural hair colors. As a queer and trans person who uses tattoos, piercings, and hair dye as my primary source of self expression, this really caused emotional turmoil. What’s more, I felt nervous to come out to my coworkers from other departments, as I knew many of them were older conservatives that would not appreciate my more flamboyant side, if you will.
While being on furlough due to the coronavirus, I have realized that working in a setting like that was uncomfortable and made me worry that one wrong slip of the tongue about who I am could lead to losing my job. Until today, people in 26 states could be fired on the grounds of being LGBTQ, and I am grateful that some politicians in the country realize that queer people are people too and deserve the right to not be discriminated against.
The 6-3 voting may be a huge step for LGBTQ equality, but that’s still three people that voted for queer folks to be fired for just being themselves.
Discrimination can still come in many forms for the community, and there’s still a long way to go for queer rights.
Still, I know I’m going to be waving my rainbow flag a little more proudly today and I’m grateful that other LGBTQ folks and allies are standing with me.
Photo by Elyssa Fahndrich on Unsplash